World Club Series 2017: Wigan and Warrington to face Cronulla and Brisbane

Cronulla Sharks celebrate their NRL premiership win
Cronulla ended one of sport's longest hoodoos to win their first NRL title in 43 years of existence

Wigan Warriors will play Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, while Warrington Wolves will face Brisbane Broncos in a two-game World Club Series in 2017.

Shaun Wane's Warriors claimed their spot as winners of the 2016 Super League Grand Final, and will face their NRL-winning counterparts.

Wolves' place was reward for League Leaders' Shield success, although their corresponding minor premiers Melbourne Storm decided not to take part.

The games take place on 18-19 February.

"We are excited to welcome the Cronulla Sharks to the DW Stadium in February," Wigan coach Shaun Wane said.

"They are a quality side who have shown that when under pressure they can come up with their very best rugby league."

Mark Foster, general manager of Super League added: "We have worked hard with the NRL to produce a series that will not only excite fans but one that also allows all clubs in the NRL to have a full pre-season."

'Proud' Cronulla ready to travel north

Chad Townsend
Skilful half-back Chad Townsend is one of the stars of the 2016 Cronulla team

Brisbane, coached by England boss Wayne Bennett, were involved in the World Club Series in 2015 and 2016, while Cronulla ended a 43-year wait for a premiership on 2 October.

"To have the chance to play over in the UK, for a World Club Championship, is a great opportunity and one that our club is really looking forward to," Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said.

"Then add to that the challenge of playing Wigan, one of the strongest and most famous clubs in the Super League and it will definitely be an outstanding experience."

No Storm brewing

Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm were World Club Challenge winners against Leeds Rhinos in 2013

Melbourne's absence is based on their decision to have a domestic-based pre-season in preparation for the 2017 season, and the participation of several first-grade players in the 2016 Four Nations.

"Having treasured past visits to the UK in 2008, 2010 and 2013, we thoroughly value the concept of the World Club Challenge," chief executive Dave Donaghy said.

"However, a regular NRL season is already incredibly taxing and, as a non-Sydney team, our players travel more than most."

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